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What does an Indian liberal do with the money they get for writing tragedy porn?

Do they call their friends over to celebrate? Perhaps a private dinner with family and close friends at a restaurant where each item costs a month of your salary? They have those, you know.

The greatest thing in the world is sitting in India and getting paid in US dollars. This is why outsourcing works. While a dollar won’t even get you a measly hamburger in the US, seventy-five rupees goes a long way in India. If you started getting paid in dollars tomorrow, what would you do? How would you celebrate?

Right now, there is tremendous demand in global media such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, TIME magazine etc to show India’s misery as our nation grapples with the second wave of the Coronavirus. In the United States, the virus has claimed close to 600,000 lives already and continues to claim nearly 700 lives a day. In France, the country with supposedly the best healthcare system in the world, the virus has already claimed over 100,000 lives.

Make no mistake. Western egos are badly bruised. China has shown them up. The virus began in China, but Western leaders were powerless to call out the Chinese government. Also, China brought the pandemic under control very quickly. Their GDP actually expanded in 2020, while western economies struggled with contractions of 8-10%. If there was ever a tipping point in the decline of the west since the high point at the end of the cold war, this would have to be it.

How will they make up for this loss of ego? It will come from relishing the misfortunes of India. That is why you see American liberal journos sharing “stunning” images of mass cremations in India. They are in luck because cremations make for more compelling imagery than burials. It may be worth knowing that hundreds of dead bodies of those who died in New York in the spring of 2020 were stowed into freezer trucks and left in a corner of Brooklyn. This ghastly fleet of death trucks remained parked in plain sight until the Wall Street Journal found them in an “exclusive” as late as November. Both the liberal elite and the larger public must have been aware of such horrors at some level.

Who is meeting the resulting demand for stories of misery from India? We know the names of the usual suspects. We also know that these are not really reported. Because they contain very little information that is not already in the public domain. This is tragedy porn, written for a mostly white audience to engage in self-stimulation. And before you get angry at their average reader, understand that those readers are victims too. Their elected leaders have failed to save them from the coronavirus and failed to stand up to China. They are now feeding them tragedy porn to calm their anger. If anyone is profiteering from this, it is the racket of global publications like the New York Times and TIME magazine. And some of this gets passed on to their contractors in India.

This brings me back to those getting paid in dollars sitting in India. Have you ever wondered what any of these people do when the remittance hits their bank account? Well, the responsible thing to do would be to invest it in a mutual fund (no, this is not native advertising). But I suspect they will do something more reckless, something that people are prone to do with fast and easy money.

Do they call their friends over to celebrate? Perhaps a private dinner with family and close friends at a restaurant where each item costs a month of your salary? They have those, you know. Super exclusive restaurants open secretly for the super-rich despite the pandemic. It’s happening all over Paris right now. Do you think the same is not happening in any big Indian city? Come on, the police have targets to meet…

Well, these days it is a bit dangerous to socialize. So maybe they splurge on expensive clothes, makeup or perfume. Maybe put down some money towards that flashy car or high-performance motorcycle they have always admired? Or maybe it goes towards a vacation fund. One of these days, the pandemic will be over. And then, the south of France or the beaches of Hawaii will beckon.

I am not saying any of these things are wrong. I am just telling you to imagine what their incentives might be.

Also, how do they land their writing contracts at a big publication such as TIME or the Washington Post? I have no idea, so I can only speculate. Are these articles commissioned in advance, or do they send the word out via email and Whatsapp, inviting bids? How do these contractors differentiate their products from each other? Presumably, the more garish the article, the more the shock value, the higher the asking price, right? Imagine the thrill that would come with getting your essay accepted into the New York Times for what I am assuming is a few thousand dollars at least. Imagine them checking their bank account anxiously for the next few days. And the satisfaction when they finally see the SMS on their shiny new iPhone. Amount deposited.

Now think about them writing their future essays. Should you call the Indian system “inefficient” or “horribly inefficient”? Well, that’s easy. At say $2 per word, you would get an additional $2 or about Rs 150 extra for calling the Indian system “horribly inefficient” instead of just “inefficient.” Calling PM Modi a “dictator” gets you only $2, but calling him “right-wing majoritarian fascist dictator” gets you as much as $10!

Pro-tip: Always refer to him by his full name, Narendra Modi, instead of just Modi. That’s $2 extra each time.

Extra pro-tip: See if the New York Times will accept Narendra Damodardas Modi.

There are multiple lessons here for the taking, but let me present at least two. First, if you ever thought that US President or Canadian PM were on the side of the people of India, the joke is on you. These people won’t even release the raw materials necessary for Indians to have vaccines. Like they would give a damn if Delhi police sprayed some people with water cannon around the approaches of Delhi. How many European parliaments are discussing how to help India during the Covid crisis like they supposedly did for “farmers” of Punjab? I am guessing zero. Oh wait, the so-called farmer protests were a humanitarian crisis. Unlike Covid, I suppose.

Turns out that our internal affairs are our own after all and nobody else cares about them. Now that we agree, how about we ask what was their real agenda when they were backing the protests between December and March? A few months ago, the global media was inviting people everywhere to see the “largest protests in the world.” Now they are inviting everyone to see India’s skyrocketing Covid numbers and enjoying all the same. By the way, their same contractors got paid writing by writing articles in praise of the so-called farmer protests. They made money both coming and going.

The other lesson, of course, is that this is all about politics. The governor of New York deliberately hid some 6000 Covid deaths in nursing homes. But that governor was a liberal. And liberals had an election to win in the US. And so the New York Times could not see any of the bodies. They could not even see the trucks full of dead bodies parked near the Brooklyn waterfront. The Wall Street Journal only found these trucks on Nov 22. The election had already happened in the first week of November. See how it all worked out perfectly for the liberals?

But just as the liberal elite had an axe to grind in the US, they now have one in India. They need to get India’s current Prime Minister out of office. And that is why nobody can hide dead bodies either in Amdavad or in Lucknow right now. Unlike New York, the media is scouring these cities, looking for ways to “speak truth to power.”

 

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Abhishek Banerjeehttps://dynastycrooks.wordpress.com/
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or may not be an Associate Professor at IISc Bangalore. He is the author of Operation Johar - A Love Story, a novel on the pain of left wing terror in Jharkhand, available on Amazon here.  

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